Transplanting Calla Lilies Outside
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Transplanting Calla Lilies Outside

Transplanting calla lilies outside your home is a great way to create more plants for a new garden bed or simply to move the calla lilies to a better position in the garden. It takes only a little time and the rhizomes are easy to divide with no special treatment necessary.

The calla lily is native to southern Africa and prefers damp conditions around ponds and streams. They are evergreen in high rainfall areas but the foliage will die off after flowering in lower rainfall climates.

Calla Lily Rhizomes

Calla lilies grow from rhizomes in the soil which are similar to bulbs. The rhizomes will multiply with new pups forming along the outside. It is best to lift calla lily rhizomes every 3 years then divide the rhizomes and discard any rotten tubers you find.

The new rhizomes can be replanted in the same spot leaving a foot between each one to give the plants space to grow. Any extra rhizomes you can’t use can be given to friends and family. Simply place a rhizome in a pot with 2 inches of soil over the top or place several rhizomes in a mesh bag with planting instructions.

What is the best time to transplant calla lilies?

The best time to transplant calla lilies is after the foliage has died off from the midsummer to late fall or autumn. In high rainfall areas transplant in the dry season after flowering.
Some varieties of calla lily are frost sensitive. For these varieties it is best to lift the rhizomes before the first frost then store them in mesh bags in a cool area until the frosts have finished.

Transplanting calla lilies outside after flowering has finished.
Calla lilies have arrow shaped leaves with stunning large flowers.

Transplanting Calla lilies Outside

It is best to give the calla lily rhizomes a good soaking the day before transplanting to make digging them up easier. This will also help to reduce transplant shock.

Tools and Material Needed

  • Shovel
  • Trowel – If you get sore hands this Garden Guru Super Strong Garden Trowel has an ergonomic grip and is top rated on Amazon. (Paid link)
  • Bucket
  • Gardening Gloves – These bamboo working gloves for men and women keep the hands cool and are like a second skin, even touchscreen sensitive. They are top rated and great value. (Paid link)
  • Aged Manure or Compost (Optional)
  • Mulch


Time needed: 1 hour.

Transplanting calla lilies outside in the home garden.

  1. Loosen the Soil

    First fill the bucket with water then set near the calla lilies. Insert your shovel at an angle a foot and a half from the centre of the plant. Gently leverage the shovel upwards then repeat around the outside of the plant angling towards the centre each time.

    Shovel inserted at an angle around the calla lily plant.

  2. Remove the Calla Lily Rhizomes

    Once the soil is loosened, insert the shovel until it is underneath the rhizomes then gently lift upwards.

    Lifting the calla lily rhizomes with the shovel underneath.

  3. Divide the Calla Lily Rhizomes

    Remove the rhizomes from the soil then discard any which are starting to rot or decay. Divide any new pups which are starting to grow roots by snapping them from the main rhizome.

    Divide the calla lily rhizomes by snapping off the new growths.

  4. Place in Water

    Place the rhizomes in the bucket of water to reduce shock while you prepare to plant them. If you live in a cold climate and are going to store the rhizomes over the winter, dust off any dirt then place in a mesh bag without placing in the water. Store in a cool dark place until spring.

    The calla lily rhizomes in water to reduce shock when transplanting outside.

  5. Prepare the New Position

    Prepare the new position by digging the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches (15cm). Poor soils will benefit from adding aged manure or compost to improve the soil structure however for good soils this isn’t necessary.

    Preparing the soil for the calla lily rhizomes.

  6. Plant the Calla Lily Rhizomes

    Make a trench then use the trowel to make the holes deep enough so the rhizome will have 2 inches (5cm) of soil over the top. Place the rhizomes 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45cm) apart.

    Planting the calla lily rhizomes in their new position.

  7. Reducing Water Use

    Cover with soil then make a mound of dirt around the outside of the bed to keep the water where it is needed. This will save on water use.

    A mound of dirt around the new bed to hold water where it is needed.

  8. Mulch

    Place an inch (2.5cm) of mulch over the top then water in well.

    Mulch is placed on the new garden bed.

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Give the calla lilies liquid fertilizer every two weeks from when you begin to see the new foliage appear to right through the growing season for the best results.

Are you looking for more flowers to add to your garden? try this guide to Transplanting Canna Lilies, Growing Petunias in Pots or take Geranium Cuttings.

For more information on gardening and to get more from your home, see this Homesteading guide.

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